Nov 24, 2012

Why Does My Mom’s Alzheimer’s Cause Her to Behave This Way?

By Monica Heltemes


Why Does My Mom’s Alzheimer’s Cause Her to Behave This  Way?
Why does my mother become agitated during her shower? Why does my husband yell out frequently? Why won’t my dad keep the blinds closed? Do questions like these sound familiar? Often times, actions like these are called ‘behaviors’.

True, the person is behaving in a certain way. But why are they behaving that way?

Usually, if we analyze the ‘behavior’ more closely, we find that it is actually a ‘communication’. Could these explanations be plausible for the actions above?

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Why does my mother become agitated during her shower? Why does my husband yell out frequently? Why won’t my dad keep the blinds closed? Do questions like these sound familiar? Often times, actions like these are called ‘behaviors’.

True, the person is behaving in a certain way. But why are they behaving that way? Usually, if we analyze the ‘behavior’ more closely, we find that it is actually a ‘communication’. Could these explanations be plausible for the actions above?
The mother whom is agitated at shower time may be communicating that she is cold. Covering with a towel during the shower may be a solution.

The husband who yells out may be communicating that he is overstimulated or bored. A quiet environment or appropriate Alzheimer activities may be a solution.

The dad who likes the blinds closed may be communicating that he is bothered by the glare or heat from the sun or may notice shadows appearing that worry him.

Consider behaviors as a way of communicating something. With a bit of analysis and detective work, you may find some very simple solutions or strategies to manage these acts.



Monica Heltemes is a practicing occupational therapist and owner of MindStart™. MindStart designs hobby-style items, such as games and puzzles, specifically for persons with memory loss. They keep persons with dementia active, while giving support to caregivers, and are quick and easy to use. Visit MindStart (Activities for Persons with Memory Loss) to learn more.

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Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room